Friday, 22 April 2016

The Ghostly Gardeners Of Empty Common


Forget the exotics of the Botanics, turn your back on the Spring flowers along the Backs, consider not the colour of the college gardens and pass by the city's parks and public gardens; today we'll enter the enigmatic Empty Common.....


Those of you who are familiar with our English cities have probably realised already that we're in the allotments of fair Albion's isle.


When the Industrial Revolution swept through England in the the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the houses constructed for the miners, factory workers and those who were employed by the railways were crammed in as tightly as possible with little space for gardens. Even in towns like Cambridge, hardly the most industrialised part of the land, there was a need for gardens where families could grow a few vegetables for the table.
  

Of course, times move along so you won't find it's all men in cloth caps and rubber boots nowadays. But I don't know who you'll find among the rhubarb and old sheds these days. I heard the sound of hammering, there were cars parked at the gates, I even got a whiff of pipe smoke but the allotments were as deserted as the Mary Celeste


You can't help but wonder though, can you? Perhaps an old man is growing tulips to take home to the bedside of his sick wife...or maybe he sells them to a local florist....



Maybe an artist goes beachcombing up in North Norfolk and brings home driftwood to construct his garden shed....



Maybe teddy bears come down here for a picnic......no, probably not.



These makeshift sheds are so cheaply constructed for a good reason. All I take is photographs and all I allow to run wild is my imagination, but others are not so harmless. Theft by rabbits (six foot tall ones with two legs) is always a possibility when gardens are so far from the houses.


Down at the end of the allotments is a Community Garden which seeks to involve an even wider range of individuals and groups in growing their own produce - schools, the disabled and others. Someone has painted this wonderful shed.



Now I've delayed myself so much that I'm not going to get to the Botanic Gardens this week, though I've still got a few more days to make my April visit. I told you I'd get diverted from my intention to photograph there each month.



There was still no one around as I left the allotments or at least I don't think there was. But as I pushed open the little gate I'm sure I could hear the unmistakable sound of someone playing the bagpipes. Mysteriouser and mysteriouser!




Take care.



18 comments:

  1. I become sensitized when I look at your images, they are so beautiful.
    Looks like a lovely summer there. We have a rainy .. :(

    ReplyDelete
  2. A wonderful variety! Love all the tulips.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Allotments are a very middle class thing nowadays, no? Where folk grow chicory and fennel for their Masterchef inspired recipes.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Another unique English institution, the allotments.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Abandoned place with tulips! They are still blooming every spring and remember who planted them. Great moments, great words and pictures!!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Love all the colorful flowers, especially the tulips!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Allotments are very popular in the cities here, - I heard on the TV that one allotment in Vancouver had 500 full gardeners and 200 on the waiting list. Loved the history and the mystery in your post, John.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I am finding your blog photos and stories very addictive! I loved this one and the photos are so unusual from all the other bloggers. The history in each post is so wonderful. Always enjoy my visit here.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Somewhat sad, but so beautiful! The someone playing the bagpipes must have been a ghost.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I really like the artwork on that shed - white on black. Very well done. Nice post John.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Its amazing how you can make junk look attractive in your photos. No one could say that you take cliche shots. I also love the way your imagination takes on. Great post probably better than the botanic gardens.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Gardens interrupted when life got in the way. Why do I feel so at home with this post?It's because I also live in the land of muddled gardens.
    The forget-me-nots look very elegant. Bagpipes playing in the background seems just right.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I like the rather primitive sheds mingled about the gardens. It gave me a feeling of nature up against the soil. Absolutely beautiful photos. Happy spring to you --- barbara

    ReplyDelete
  14. Such a wonderful place to explore. I love that painted shed. It's quite beautiful. All the colors and the new greens of spring, a great place for a walk in April!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I'm certain it was the garden's ghost! I love allotments and could wander for ages. You've captured this one perfectly!

    ReplyDelete
  16. What another delightful journey you've shared with us, John. It's all very intriguing! Love that opening capture.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I just thought the other night, I needed to check your blog, even though I am not blogging yet. I just thoroughly enjoy posts like this. I doubt you can imagine how I have loved this...it is the photos and the words. Every picture is one I wish I could paint...and your words stir my imagination, too.

    ReplyDelete
  18. How do you find such wonderful places? Wonderful even though often a bit rough?

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to comment. I'll try to answer any questions via a comment or e-mail within the next day or two (no hard questions, please!).